Movies and Film: Foreign Films

Foreign Films

Some governments actively and usefully support their film industries. We have elsewhere discussed the involvement of various governments in the first half of the twentieth century: the Soviets and The Moscow Film School, the Italians and Cinecitt, and so on. The 1960s and 1970s were a sort of high point for government funding in several countries. For example, the Australian Film Development Corporation in the 1970s and 1980s jump-started a moribund industry, catapulting it into international prominence with films like Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975, directed by Peter Weir), Walkabout (1971, directed by the British Nicolas Roeg), The Last Wave (1977, also a Weir film), and so on. It helped begin the careers of directors like Peter Weir and Bruce Beresford.

Federal aid and co-involvement for young filmmakers from the 1960s on spurred Germany's "New German Film" movement, and consequently helping the careers of internationally famous and controversial directors like Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Wim Wenders, and Werner Herzog. The Canadian Film Board and the Canadian Film Development Corporation have been encouraging filmmakers since about World War II.

Unfortunately, when a country's filmmaking industry prospers under such financing, the federal help often disappears, and films start becoming more commercial. Australian filmmaking moved from a cinema with the social bite of Breaker Morant (1979) to highly enjoyable and completely empty-headed flicks like the "Crocodile Dundee" films.

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Movies and Film © 2001 by Mark Winokur and Bruce Holsinger. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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